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AQA GCSE Photography


AQA Photography GCSE is split into 60% coursework and 40% exam project. Over both the coursework and exam projects students have the opportunity to work in the following genres of photography:

  •  Still Life
  •  Portraiture
  •  Fashion
  •  Fine Art Photography
  •  Landscape
  •  Architectural
  •  Documentary and Street

Starting the course with the ‘Fundamentals of Photography’ project in year 10, students will be taught basic camera, lighting, composition and editing skills, including:

  •  The formal elements of photography: line, pattern, texture, colour, tone, light, contrast, depth of field.
  •  The camera settings: shutter speed, aperture sizes, macro and filters.
  •  Compositions using viewpoint, rule of thirds, symmetry, leading lines, parallels and framing.
  •  Digital editing on Photoshop, Pixlr and other apps
  •  Physical, tactile image manipulation using collage, image transfer, drawing, sewing, painting and construction.

Students must then apply this knowledge and skills to develop a project responding to a set theme. Through this project they will cover the four assessment objectives:

  •  AO1) Developing ideas for the project by responding to sources of inspiration, including: the work of photographers, artist, crafts people and the world around them.
  •  AO2) Refining their work through experimentation with the camera settings, lighting, compositions and editing.
  •  AO3) Recording their observations, decisions and plans, through analysis of photographers work, annotation of experiments, photography, drawing and video.
  •  AO4) Creating a final response to the project theme that realises their intentions.

By the start of year 11 students should be confident in working independently in the four assessment areas. The exam project starts in January of year 11 and runs for three months. In this period students must build a portfolio of work covering assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3 and then sit a 10 hour exam to complete assessment objective 4. 

The course should not only build subject specific knowledge but also key skills including: ICT (all work will be digitally documented on PowerPoint), organisation and time management, team work and communication, reflection and evaluation, and problem solving.